Openness: What it means to the support unit staff

Alvie Simonette Q Alip and Yasele Irene Angela M Yambao
University of the Philippines Open University
Los Baņos, Laguna, the Philippines

The historical reconstruction of openness in education reveals that it is a technological, social, cultural and economic phenomenon (Peter and Deimann 2013), which has an impact on the teaching, curriculum, research, textbooks and policies in education (Wiley and Green 2012). In responding to the call for openness in a digitized world, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) continues to innovate and expand its reach while staying grounded in its open and distance e-learning (ODeL) ideals. In embracing the philosophy of openness to fulfil its mandate of widening access to quality education, the alignment of the mission and vision of the UPOU’s leaders and managers with its workforce is imperative for sustaining an environment in which learners can thrive. By conducting a focus group discussion (FGD), this paper consolidated the views of the UPOU support unit staff on openness in terms of instruction, research and public service. Specifically, it aims to answer the following questions: (1) What is the role of your office in the development of ODeL?; (2) How do you envision your office’s research priorities in the context of ODeL?; and (3) How do you envision your office’s contribution to public/ community service in the context of ODeL? In general, the results showed that the 31 staff who participated in the discussion had quite a good idea of what openness is. Also, their perceived office’s roles and visions in ODeL instructional development, research and public service are aligned with the vision and mission of the UPOU’s leaders and managers.